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dm33
Blue Screen Again
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎12-15-2010
Location: us
Views: 14,651
Message 1 of 21

Ix2 how to read disk on PC

What type of file system does the ix2 use with hard drives? For safety, I'd like to know how to recover data from the drives if the ix2 fails. I do not like the idea of relying on some hidden proprietary format that requires the ix2 to be able to retrieve my data in case of failure.

 

I've looked on Windows and it lists it as some Microsoft RAW format.

I've tried on Linux (Debian) and it says it some sort of RAID file system, but it still can't read it or I don't know how. Its not NTFS, ext2,3,4.

 

Anyone know how to read the disk formatted by the ix2 from a PC running any operating system?

 

Thanks

Guru
Posts: 555
Registered: ‎09-21-2013
Location: DE
Views: 14,622
Message 2 of 21

Re: Ix2 how to read disk on PC

Its not just the file system on the drive, normally it is the proprietary RAID algorithm built into software or interfaces firmware which makes it nearly impossibe to read RAID-system drives on a PC ( especially if you are only able to connect individual drives out of the set). ( same with e.g. Intel-software RAID and special inbuilt controllers).

So backing up your data is mandatory.

___________________________________________________
Various PCs / Laptops ( sorry I still really love Dell and Fujitsu ;-))
Supporting Customers ix2s and ix4s -- Love Networking ( not only technically ).
I am not a Lenovo Employee.
If you find a post helpful and it answers your question, please mark it as an "Accepted Solution"!
Retired Support Specialist
Posts: 545
Registered: ‎06-23-2014
Location: Orem Utah
Views: 14,583
Message 3 of 21

Re: Ix2 how to read disk on PC

What raid level are you using? If you are using raid 1 it may be possible to mount to a Linux system but can be difficult without advanced skills. This is not in a proprietary format, it is Linux base which is pretty much the opposite of proprietary. The drives are ether in XFS or EX4 depending on firmware.

 

However,  is correct. The best thing to do is to make sure you have a true back up system then you shouldn't have much to worry about. Having the data in one location, even in raid, is not a back up. Even an external USB drive setup with copy jobs is a good idea.

 

 

What is a backup?

 

dm33
Blue Screen Again
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎12-15-2010
Location: us
Views: 14,580
Message 4 of 21

Re: Ix2 how to read disk on PC

It doesn't seem very realistic to say keep a backup. The ix2 may be the backup. RAID mirroring is done to prevent loss of data in event of a failure. 

Not being able to read disks in the ix2 outside of the NAS greatly increases the risk to data. 

 

I think that Lenovo should publish information about the disk format so that if someone were technical enough, they could access their data.

 

In that light, I have been able to come up with a set of commands that has successfully allowed me to read data off the disks. However, during the process, I'm apparently modifying the configuration on the drive. The ix2 unceremoniously crashes (hangs) after placing the drive back in the ix2 and booting.

 

I currently have a single drive installed as RAID 1.

 

I booted a PC into Linux. Installed dependent packages and ran the following commands. Some of the parameters vary depending on which device a particular installation decides to assign for the drive. I placed the drive in a USB dock and connected the dock to the PC.

 

# Defines a logical volume group using the partition and harddrive associated with /dev/sda2.

# Says raid 1, that there are two drives, but its ok if only one drive is given.

mdadm --create /dev/md0 --level=1 --raid-devices=2 /dev/sda2 missing
 
# Display information about volume groups defined on the system. Can find the volume group name and 
# device path as a result.
lvdisplay 
 
# Make the volume group active
vgchange -ay <volume group name>
mount <path to volume> <directory to mount to>
Retired Support Specialist
Posts: 545
Registered: ‎06-23-2014
Location: Orem Utah
Views: 14,576
Message 5 of 21

Re: Ix2 how to read disk on PC

How or why does it have a raid 1 on a single disk? Is it set to 2 partitions, or so you can add another disk later? Was this a diskless unit?

If the disk fails there is absolutely no redundancy. At least a 2 drive raid 1 mirror is redundant so if only one drive fails you still have another, but if both fail or controller/unit failure then the data is gone. A backup is data on 2 separate physical locations.

The format of the drives are not very important info because it is not recommended or usually ever taken out and directly connected except in case of data recovery. Moving them back and forth, especially without a backup is very risky and is likely to result in loss of data.
dm33
Blue Screen Again
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎12-15-2010
Location: us
Views: 14,572
Message 6 of 21

Re: Ix2 how to read disk on PC

I don't know why Lenovo's ix2 used RAID as its file system. That is what the ix2 did that I had to discover the hard way.

I placed a single blank unit into the ix2. It "prepared" the drive with some unknown file system. I tried reading it on Mac OS X Mavericks, Windows 7, Linux. None of them could read it. It is not ext4. Its some sort of Linux virtual volume group. Thats the only way I've found to be able to read it.

It would be great as a Lenovo representative, if you could find out the type of file system(s) used by the ix2.

It is vitally important to be able to read the drive if the ix2 fails. In other environments hard drives can be moved from a failing system to a working system to at least recover and access critical data. This works if a drive is in a PC, in a USB drive enclosure, if it is in a USB enclosure attached to a router. However the ix2 is an intelligent device running Linux and complex software. I don't know how reliable it is, but it risky to have to rely upon it. All your data can be instantly lost if there is a software or hardware failure in the ix2 with no other way to access data on an otherwise healthy hard drive.

The ix2 seems very sensitive to the format of new drives being placed in it. It hangs. That does not inspire confidence. Given all the code running in that device, it should be smart enough to be able to freshly initialize a newly inserted drive.
Retired Support Specialist
Posts: 545
Registered: ‎06-23-2014
Location: Orem Utah
Views: 14,566
Message 7 of 21

Re: Ix2 how to read disk on PC

Raid is not a file system. The ix2 uses either Linux based XFS if it has firmware 3.x or if it was setup or factory restored with FW 4.x it will have EXT4 and uses a MDADM RAID system. The Raid is setup either in Raid 1 for redundancy in the event of a drive failure Raid 0 for thoughput or no protection for space.

 

All NAS devices with multiple bays have RAID options. Usually, the most common component to fail on a NAS is a drive. If you only have one in there, taking it out and attaching it to another device will not help.

 

We do not support or recommend removing a working drive and connecting it to anything device other than an identical unit running the same firmware. Even then it is risky. If you are doing so then you are doing it at your own risk.

 

When you are adding other drives you need to make sure they are clean without any partition then it should incorporate them into the raid better.

 

So I assume this was a diskless unit or you would have 2 drives in it. I would recommend running it with 2 identical drives, in raid 1. Then if one fails you can swap out the bad drive and it will rebuild the mirror back to the new drive.

 

However, that is still not a true back up. If the unit, controllers or something else major happens all data will be lost and you will need data recovery.

 

Here are links that explain a backup, raid and more:

 

What is a backup?

 

What is RAID and what are the different RAID configurations?

 

Moving disks from one network storage device to another

 

HDDs approved for use with ix2 and ix2-dl

dm33
Blue Screen Again
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎12-15-2010
Location: us
Views: 14,557
Message 8 of 21

Re: Ix2 how to read disk on PC

I have an ix2 ordered diskless. I installed a single blank disk. That disk is the one I'm attempting to read outside of the ix2 and trying to figure out what disk format is being used.

 

The firmware version is 4.1.102.29716

 

I have not configured the ix2 to use any RAID configuration nor do I find any option to do so. I'm using whatever default settings it came with.

 

I've explained the one way I've found so far to be able to read data from the disk outside of the ix2.

Retired Support Specialist
Posts: 545
Registered: ‎06-23-2014
Location: Orem Utah
Views: 14,539
Message 9 of 21

Re: Ix2 how to read disk on PC

If you found a reliable way to move the drive between devices that is up to you, but we do not recommend it or support it. If this is going to hold important data then you really should put in two drives in a raid 1 AND have another device with the data on it, such as the original computer, an external hard drive, or another NAS. Relying on one disk and hoping you can take it to a computer in the event of failure is very risky, if the drive itself dies or a problem when moving it the data will be lost.

 

FYI, With firmware version is 4.1.102.29716 it will be in EXT4.

 

We always recommend using 2 drives. If you have installed two new drives in an ix2-dl, it will automatically create a RAID array with the new drives.

 

Changing the RAID Protection Type

Use the web management interface for your ix2 if you want to change the RAID configuration on your ix2.

  1. Access the device console to manage your ix2.

  2. Click the Storage icon in the left column:

  3. Click on Drive Management in the main window:

  4. You will see an image of the ix2 showing the installed hard drives.

  5. To change the RAID configuration, click the Settings icon and select the desired option from the Protection drop-down menu.

  6. If desired, you can change the setting for Disk Write Caching, and enable or disable the periodic consistency check.

  7. Click Apply to save your configuration changes.

  8. Allow a few minutes for the RAID array to build.

Bungo
What's DOS?
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-17-2014
Location: Surrey, BC
Views: 14,261
Message 10 of 21

Re: Ix2 how to read disk on PC

I just got off the phone with Lenovo support with the same question. ix2 won't boot with either hard drives. I need data from the drives so attempted to access from a linux environment, but they do not use standard file formating. The tech told me if I needed the files it would have to be done through data recovery, because there was no way to access from another device. I am trying one last method now before paying hundreds in data recovery, and will report if it works.

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